IWC Schaffhausen launched a fleet of new Pilot’s watches at SIHH 2016 in Geneva (including a pair of extra-sized Heritage models, a new “Le Petit Prince” annual calendar, and the innovative Timezoner chronograph), continuing the brand’s long and storied heritage as a supplier of timepieces for aviators. Here, courtesy of IWC’s archives, we present a lineup of vintage and modern IWC pilots’ Replica Watches that represent milestones for the brand — and for watchmaking history.
1. The First IWC Watch Ever Taken Into The Sky (1896)
This pocketwatch, with a 14k yellow gold case and containing the IWC-manufactured Caliber 53 movement was sold by IWC on December 1896 to IWC Replica Watches retailer A. Kohler from Leipzig, Germany. Another German, Albert Lotter, inherited the watch from his father in 1916. During the following years the watch and its owner, who lived in Saxony and Berlin, witnessed many 20th-century historical milestones. The watch still operates with good timekeeping precision.
2. IWC’s First “Special Watch for Pilots” (1936)
IWC started focusing on the production of technically advanced watches built specifically for aviation at a very early stage, becoming a true pioneer in this field. Progress made in aviation and navigation had created a growing need for watches that offered maximum reliability under the toughest conditions.
Ernst Jakob Homberger (1869–1955), IWC Fake Watches managing director during the 1930s, had two sons who were so passionate about aviation that they decided to manufacture IWC’s first “special watch for pilots” in 1936. The watch, containing Caliber 83, had a shatterproof crystal, high-contrast hands and numerals, a rotating bezel with an index for recording short periods of time, and an antimagnetic escapement. It was also highly resistant to temperature fluctuations, ranging from –40 degrees Celsius to +40 degrees Celsius.
3. IWC’s First Big Pilot’s Watch (1940)
The first IWC Big Pilot’s Watch was supplied to the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) in 1940 in an edition of 1,000 pieces. The “big device,” constructed according to the criteria for an observer’s watch, is the largest wristwatch ever made by Cheap IWC Replica, with a case diameter of 55 mm, a height of 16.5 mm, and a weight of 183 grams.
4. IWC Pilot’s Wristwatch Mark 11 with Nato Strap (1948)
In response to a product requirement from the British government, IWC developed a service watch for pilots of the Royal Air Force (RAF). The technical specifications stipulated by the RAF were very rigid, including a requirement that the movement had to be protected against magnetic fields. Production of the now-legendary IWC Fake Watches Mark 11, with Caliber 89, started in 1948. In November 1949, the watch was supplied to airborne personnel of the RAF and other Commonwealth nations and remained in service until 1981.
5. IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Ceramic (1994)
Forty-eight years after the legendary Mark 11 was launched, IWC built on its Pilot’s Watch tradition with the launch of the IWC Watches. In 1994, IWC launched another Pilot’s Watch Chronograph, intended for modern aviation and equipped with a case made from high-tech zirconium oxide ceramic — a material as hard as sapphire and virtually indestructible. Its movement is caliber 7922.